Saturday, June 14, 2014

Standing for what I believe in

      I know that I can be a bit of a broken record when it comes to agriculture promotion. I feel strongly that there is a great need in our society for farmers and others involved in agriculture to tell our story. One commonality we all have as humans is the need to eat for nourishment. The job of farmers is to produce that food.  We need to be open and honest on how we do this. 
      Society is interested, now more than it ever, about where their food comes from. There is a longing to feel a part of the food production and decision making. 
     There are many voices stating the way that they feel food should be produced. Some say that production processes of today are unhealthy or cruel. Most of the time these voices are not the ones of farmers who are working every day to produce the food. We, as farmers, are the ones who know best how to grow the food and the challenges of growing it. We need to speak up and tell our story.  We need to be open with information to assist others in understanding why things are done the way they are. 
        There are two organizations I am involved in which I feel do an excellent job in helping the farmers have a voice. They are the National FFA Organization and the American Farm Bureau. These organizations are dedicated to agricultural education. The FFA focuses on education  and leadership development of youth while FB facilitates education of the public and leadership development of FB members.
        My husband and I are members of other agricultural organizations but I feel these two are the ones that best match my beliefs because they are not limited to supporting only one portion of agriculture. Agriculture is so much broader than beef or corn, it encompasses everything from fruit to animal production, from conventional to organic production. I feel that it is important to be part of an organization where we all stand together with one united voice supporting agriculture as a whole.
      I was never a member of an FFA myself, but after being married to a FFA advisor for the first 8 years of our marriage I feel that I have learned quickly the many benefits of FFA. I have been able to see the passion and excitement in the eyes of youth as they participate in a community project. The pride in my husband when he sees a group of youth in FFA jackets out in the community. I have also noticed the camaraderie and connections that FFA has helped my husband form within the agriculture community.
      Youth have a strong voice in society. They are the ones that will make the decisions of tomorrow and if they are educated and instilled with correct knowledge of agriculture their decisions will reflect this.
I made this quilt for my brother-in-law Brad to showcase his FFA carer
      Farm Bureau is a wonderful organization that my husband and I have joined during our married life.  Farm Bureau has provided me with education and leadership opportunities that are invaluable. It is important to do our best when producing food on our farm but sometimes that is not enough. FB has helped me become aware of the issues facing farming which could affect the way I am able to do my job. They help me stay informed of legislation and have connected me with leaders to help them see the real face of agriculture.
Meeting with Congressmen Peterson in his office at Washington DC

Behind the Speakers podium at the capital

In front of the capital building in Washington DC
   I also commend Farm Bureau for their support of family. They truly see that family is the center of farming. 97% of America's farms are family owned. Farming is a lifestyle that the whole family is a part of. One membership in FB includes both the husband and wife. Recently my husband and I served on the Young Farmer and Rancher FB state board as a couple. All trips through FB are offered for the couple to attend. I have to admit that Paul, my husband, was the one who first found FB.  It wasn't until after I accompanied him on a trip, thinking I was just going along for the sights, I found out that FB was something for me too. I love that we can share this passion together and feel this strengthens our marriage. 
     I believe that everyone should be involved in groups that support their values. In the world of agriculture I see these as outstanding organizations. If anyone is needing a resource for agriculture information I would direct them to these groups. If you are a farmer I would highly encourage you to join your local chapter of FFA or Farm bureau. 

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